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Hunter Donald Randolph Philip Savilla Stiano Braggiotti Betty Findon Daphne Wilson Colin Derwent Bramwell Fletcher Sir Miles Standing Oswald Yorke Inspector Pember Reynolds Denniston Sergeant Brace Leslie Barrie
The mystery drama at the Plymouth this week is singularly lacking in all the conventional trappings; no gorillas carrying swooning, half-naked females shamble across the stage; not once does a mysterious hand stretch out from the secret panel and grasp its unsuspecting victim; the lights are never suddenly doused and there are no trap doors, hidden staircases, or ghostly signals.
Instead of using this ordinary paraphernalia "Ten-Minute Alibi" returns to the school of pure deduction, which depends for its effect on the cleverness of the criminal in accomplishing his dirty work, and upon the narrow escapes which he has in evading justice. Unfortunately, in "Ten-Minute Alibi" the criminal is not very clever, but this is made up for by the number of close calls which he has; they occur, in fact, about every two minutes during the last two acts, and after the first dozen or so one becomes distinctly indifferent about his fate. As a mystery thriller, "Ten-Minute Alibi" does not have much to recommend it; as a melodrama it is of the young-girl-seduced-by-the-handsome-villain school.
The innocent young girl, Betty Findon, is almost engaged to Colin Derwent, embryo barrister; but along comes dashing Philip Savilla, and persuades her to agree to go off with him on a sexual junket to Paris. Derwent, of course, knows that Savilla is a crashing cad, who lures women abroad to a horrible fate--just what this fate is never becomes quite clear. Obviously, he must save poor Betty from this awful monster; but how, he does not know until he sees himself in a dream killing Savilla and establishing his alibi by tampering with the clock, so that it will appear that he was some where else when Savilla was murdered. This appeals to Derwent as a fine ideas and in the second act he carries it out, with many a near slip. Having seen him kill Savilla in his dream in the first act, the audience has new witnessed the death of that unfortunate man twice; but in order that there may be no misunderstanding during most of the third act two detectives rehash the whole business and decide that Derwent's alibi is too perfect; ergo, he is the guilty man. After a great deal of twiddle-twaddle about the part played in the crime by time Derwent clears himself, and, the plot being almost tragically clear to the spectators by now, the curtain is rung down.
The acting in "Ten-Minute Alibi" is adequate but undistinguished; the only performance which stands out is that of Oswald Yorke as Sir Miles Standing. He also had the one good line in the play; when told that he is suspected he exclaims in amazement, "I couldn't do that. I'm a conservative!" The sets maintain the standard of excellence which has distinguished most of the plays at the Plymouth this season.
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